With the weather being so pooh over summer and into autumn, I hadn’t been out much on my gravel bike. I’d managed to sneak in a few mountain bike rides (gotta love Woodhill after it’s been raining!) but nothing really out on the gravel. But, there is nothing like a new garment to get you back into it. We headed out Puhoi way – not too far from our place but far enough to feel like you have escaped Auckland. Not being able to guarantee the weather at all at the moment, I was glad to have the POC woman’s All Weather Signal jacket in stow. Saving space in my back pockets for ride snacks, this jacket bundles up into its own pocket and then attaches to either your handlebars or the bike frame – Brownie points for style factor. I already run a handlebar bag, so I was able to smoosh the jacket on top of this one which worked pretty well. It did bounce around a little so next time I will try ratcheting it down with the ties on my bar bag, or attaching it to the bike frame.
There was no time to worry about the front bar double bag bounce effect anyway, because it started to rain – surprise, surprise. But, no need to fret! I had my new jacket to test out. This jacket runs slim with a longer section which covers your butt. I really appreciated this feature, as the grit and mud started to rooster tail up my back. Just when we thought there was no water left in the sky, the faucet turned on full. I quickly pulled over and slipped the jacket hood up and under my helmet and toggled it tight. Ah, snug! It’s usually about this time, in a standard rain-proof jacket, you start to feel like a you’re in a steam room and someone has just poured some more water over the coals, but ‘no’, not me! The jacket was impressively breathable which meant I didn’t experience the feeling of winter outside the jacket and an Indian summer inside – instead I felt dry and warm. The jacket has three layers of waterproof fabric, it’s made of durable Ripstop material, and features back and underarm vents. The sleeves can be secured tightly over your gloves, the waist toggled snuggly, and the inside of the jacket has a comfy jersey feel. Just as I was settling into the grit storm, the sun came out. The double zip feature allows you to quickly find some more air while still riding, but I did need to pull up to take off the hood.
Like many of POC’s products, they have considered comfort and safety with this product. The jacket I tested was a cool, reflective gray colour – Moonstone Grey – which was easy to see in the bleak light. The jacket features RECCO® and an integrated NFC Medical ID for protection before, during and after an accident. The RECCO® system allows search and rescue teams to locate you if you are lost, and the NFC Medical ID allows you to add your personal details into the system to enable any medical team to know who you are. While I’m usually out riding with a crew, this would make me feel safer if I was keen on a solo mission.
There isn’t much to fault in this product. I must say it’s up there with performance rain jackets. I don’t think I have found one that is so rain-proof and warm, while also breathable. I appreciated the longer jacket tail and the cut of the sleeve cuffs. Before selecting the size, I checked some reviews and found out that it runs small. I would usually run a small or size 10 but, in this jacket, I ran a medium and it was perfect. I think the small would have been too short in the body, and too snug if I was wanting to run a long sleave jersey underneath. While the jacket does sit at the more pricey end of the range, you are paying for a very well-considered and well-made item which will last. Given the quality and comfort of this jacket, I think it’s a perfect new addition to my gravel and road riding kit. A good all-round adventure jacket. No excuses now!
POC Rouse Shirt
When the POC items arrived for testing, I was in like a seagull with hot chips at the beach. ‘Mine, mine, mine!’ – I grabbed the POC Rouse shirt – ‘I’m definitely taking this for a spin’. It had ‘Mens’ clearly labelled on the bag but, who cares – this shirt had me written all over it. Black, urban-utility and super comfy – the POC Rouse shirt is going to be my new best gravel riding companion.
We headed out Puhoi way for a cheeky gravel loop. The forecast was for showers – what’s new? Mmmm … things were going to get messy. Given it can get pretty fresh in the gullies out that way, I donned a merino tank base layer, some bibs and the Rouse over the top with a rain jacket in my front bag, just in case things turned nasty.
What struck me initially about the shirt was its comfort and warmth. The fabric is Polyamide – which just means supple and shower proof. It has the feel of those old school G-star jeans that were slightly waterproof? Sounds weird but it works. The dome buttons allowed for quick undoing of the shirt on the climbs, but were also easy to dome back up again on the descents – one handed. I wore the small and it fit like a women’s medium; the great length meant my butt didn’t get wet and gritty as the weather turned. I was also surprised at how waterproof it was. As the showers turned to downpours, turned to a 360-degree sandblasting experience, the shirt held out. The water and grit beaded off and, at the end of the ride, I could just give it a good shake out and I was ready for the post ride café stop – and was even allowed to sit inside the café?!
The shirt has a handy chest pocket which securely fit my phone, yet it might be a bit snug for larger devices. There is also a cool slit for your sunglasses. I particularly love the trademark POC fluro orange detail. The shirt sits below hip length with stylish side splits. Trying to find something to critique about it, I did wonder how a slightly longer tail to the shirt would look like, to provide a bit more rear protection.
Not only did the shirt stack up on the ride but, after a quick overnight wash, I was back in it the next day heading into the office with a pair of black trousers and a t-shirt. “P-O-C? Haven’t heard of that label before,” said my work colleagues. “Oh this thing?” I replied. “Yeah, it’s a riding shirt – you should check it out.” Apologies POC if you now sell out – I think most of Queen Street are checking it out!
Distributed by POC
Review by Philippa Friary